The interpretation of words

What’s considered a curse word in the US could be common slang in another country.  Ethically there is no such thing as a curse word because there is no true, universally forbidden word.  People have the ability and right to say whatever is on their mind; whether it is socially acceptable or not is another story.  Different countries and different cultures covet a socially acceptable set of rules and customs.  When traveling, it is crucial to respect each culture values, no matter how harmless a word might seem.

For example in the Philippines it is considered a great insult to refer to someone or something as stupid.  The word stupid is frowned upon and scarcely used in that country.  Whereas in the US the word stupid rolls off the tongue as frequently as waves crash onto the shore.  In America the ‘C’ word is considered to be a very provocative word; a word that is especially discriminating to the female race.  The word is rarely televised because of its sensitive connotation.  On the rare occasions that it is televised, it is automatically censored.  In Scotland, however, the ‘C’ word is used in everyday chit chat.  The ‘C’ word is used in friendly greetings.  The Scottish people replace the traditional (American) hey buddy/ hey man with hey c***.  In England, Ireland, and other European countries the F word (rhymes with bag) is commonly used when referring to cigarettes.  Yet in America this word is considered highly offensive.

Not only are certain words forbidden in different regions, but historical events are also forbidden.  China is notorious for censoring and restricting information from the public.  Historical events, like Tiananmen Square, are exempt from textbooks, online databases, and everyday speech in that country.  While things like the Holocaust and the Japanese-American Internment are not exempt from encyclopedias, they are rarely talked about because of its sensitive and shameful nature.

It’s interesting that one word or one event can mean so little in one place and mean so much in another.  It’s hard to find a concrete, universal term in which everyone abides by.  Every country and culture covets its own interpretation of words and events.


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